Farmer and 16 cows found dead, cause of death finally revealed

Note: To raise awareness of the Mike Biadasz Farm Safety and Education Memorial Fund, we are republishing this story. Visit their website here and Facebook page here to learn more.

A “deadly air dome” erupted in a fertilizer tank on a farm in Wisconsin, resulting in the freak accident that killed a farmer and sixteen of his cattle.

Michael Biadasz, a 29-year-old farmer from Amherst, Wisconsin, died of gas poisoning on his family’s farm after being overcome by sulfur oxide or methane fumes, according to WAOW. Thirteen farm animals also died at first, and three more later, for a total of sixteen cattle deaths.

According to the 29-year-old’s father, Bob Biadasz, co-owner of Biadasz Farms, the disaster was caused by a “perfect storm” of unusual and unforeseen weather circumstances. The warm upper air temperatures trapped the gases in the air dome when the tank was ready to pump, poisoning Michael and the animals in the process.

Allegedly, Biadasz was already dead when other workers appeared and started removing manure from the tank.

Portage County Coroner Scott Rifleman told WAOW, “The family is devastated, absolutely devastated.”

Rifleman told WSAW that this occurrence is even more unexpected because gas poisoning deaths usually occur indoors. The coroner stated that the gases could not have escaped because of the air pressure.

The coroner went on to say that an investigation is underway to determine the exact cause of Biadasz’s death. Before the tragic event, Rifleman claimed that Biadasz must have emptied the same magazine hundreds of times.

In memory of Michael, the Biadasz family parked a number of tractors and other equipment along the road leading near the farm. A blue tractor, several red trucks and Michael’s black pickup truck are among the parked cars.

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One Facebook user commented on the article, saying: “As if there weren’t enough dangers in the lives of farmers, this family had to experience this freak accident.” “So sad.”

Many people are advocating for stricter rules on fertilizer containers after an unfortunate disaster to avoid another such disaster in the future. The National Agricultural Safety Database, according to All That’s News, states that areas used for livestock storage should have adequate ventilation and that warning signs be posted.

“In addition to following proper construction and maintenance procedures for liquid manure storage facilities, owners should be encouraged to take several precautions to protect workers and livestock from harmful manure gases,” according to the NASD.

According to WASW, a Virginia family met a similarly tragic end in 2007 when a clogged pipe resulted in a deadly methane build-up, killing five family members.

Sources: WSAW and WAOW

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